So after class this noon I schlepped over to the Social Security Administration offices with several missions in mind: First to find out what they’re going to do to me for the crime of earning yet another $2,400 over the poverty-level earned income limitation; second, to ask where to mail the Form SS-31 to ensure that this year’s RASL payment is counted as pre-2010 income; and third, to find out what to do with the couple hundred bucks that Unemployment Insurance is apparently going to send me.
Yes. Unemployment Insurance. Last week I got a $25 check and a notice saying the Feds had told the state Department of Economic Security that some of last year’s recipients were entitled to more payments than had been disbursed. No explanation of why, or of why I should be among those recipients when, say, La Maya was not so blessed. But apparently they’re going to send about a half-dozen checks. These also represent 2009 income, UI for the furlough days GDU inflicted on us in the first six months of that year.
Well. There’s no way of getting DES to fill out and send a Form SS-31. You can’t reach them on the phone—they don’t answer telephone calls, and if you manage to get through to an answering machine, they don’t return calls. They’ve barricaded the employees behind locked doors and they don’t let the public in. So how exactly to communicate to Social Security that this little chunk of illicit income—made so because it racks up still more dollars above and beyond the permitted $14,160 earned income—represents 2009 money remained to be seen.
After sitting around for an hour or so, I got to speak with a live human being, a very nice gentleman who seemed (as they all do) pretty knowledgeable.
He said that even though the amount I’ll earn as a result of taking on another class this fall will exceed the amount of a monthly benefits check, they will not withhold more than one check. So I’m only out the cash for October, not for October and November. In January, they’ll bill me for the small amount left to pay up. The missing $111 Medicare Part B premium, payable in October, will be extracted from the November check.
So, that’s not the disaster I feared.
He also pointed out that despite losing an entire month’s SS income in September, overall for 2010 I end up with more money than I would’ve had with full Social Security and only the income limit of $14,160. While that’s so, I noted, that doesn’t do me any good next month, when I need the money to live on.
Luckily, there’s an emergency fund to fall back on. But diddling it away on utility bills, gasoline, and food is not what I had in mind: that money is there to cover me if I get hurt or too sick to work. And we do know that at my age, the operative term there is not if but when.
Presumably by the middle of next semester—if the college gives me three sections in the spring semester—I’ll be able to replenish the $975 that will have to be consumed next month to meet basic expenses and the extra $111 engrossed from November’s income for October’s Medicare B payment.
It’ll all work out over the long term. It’s just annoying, because it puts the eefus on my goal of living within my monthly means. And it does bite into my emergency savings.
Meanwhile, the Social Security dude was able to enter the data from the Form 31 from the state while I was sitting there. He said that issue is now settled.
We shall see.
As for the weird burst of Unemployment Insurance, he said that UI is not regarded as earned income! And that issue is a nonissue.
So it goes. A couple of questions were clarified. It’s inconvenient and it’s going to make next month another straitened, penurious month, something I’m mightily tired of after three months without enough income to cover base expenses. But what the heck.
Not what I wanted to do with my afternoon. SDXB, who’s back in town for the nonce, had invited me over for lunch. That scheme was scotched. Tomorrow, maybe.